After two failed attempts, by the gods, in binding the great wolf; Fenris finally agreed to be bound if one of the gods placed his hand within the giant wolf’s mouth as a sign of good faith to release him afterwards. Tÿr, god of courage, was the only one brave enough to take up the challenge. This time the bonds kept, crafted by the dwarves out of impossible things, the sound of a cat’s footsteps, the beard of a woman, the roots of stones, the breath of a fish, and the spittle of a bird. Fenris asked to be set free, but the gods said no. In payment for his betrayal Fenris took Týr’s hand. Fenris, the great destroyer, remained bound until the end of days.
I love the way this classic Norse myth illustrates the concept of duty. The god of justice and courage breaks his word in order to serve a greater good. I think it illustrates beautifully the truth of being an adult. It’s a wonderful mix of the impossible, a contradiction of contradictions. The unbindable wolf is bound by a cord of impossible things. The god of promises and honor must give his word and break it in order to serve the higher good which is his duty. Which is more important personal honor or society?
In a perfect world integrity and the good of all should go hand in hand, but anyone who’s ever had a leadership position knows that the reality of this is much more difficult than the concept. The truth of this story is so strong that it resonates beyond the age of its original culture. Leadership, duty, honor, protecting the ones we love, and the communities we live in these stories ring just as true today as they did over a thousand years ago.
The original fantasy painting was done in oils and measures 18"x24".